Most of us spend 90 percent of our time indoors breathing air that is three times more polluted than outside, according to the EPA. You can’t clean up your indoor air unless you know what to clean up! Take this indoor air quality quiz, isolate the problems and implement the usually easy fixes. Being empowered with information will be worth the few seconds this quiz will take:
What is your IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) Score?- Quiz
Answer each question “yes” or “no”
1. I use pesticides in and around my home
2. I use mainstream cleaning products available in the supermarket
3. The house/apartment was renovated within the last two years
4. I live with wall-to-wall carpet
5. My personal care products and perfumes are over-the-counter products bought in normal outlets such as drug stores, department stores, and supermarkets
6. I burn scented and aromatherapy candles bought in normal outlets
7. I cook on a gas stove
8. I heat with unvented kerosene or gas space heaters
9. I use air fresheners such as plug-ins bought at supermarkets
10. I have furniture and cabinets made of pressed wood
11. I, or someone in my household, practices a hobby that uses solvent-based materials
12. I, or someone in my home, smokes
Answer: Every single one of these issues can cause a significant amount of indoor air pollution. If you said “yes” to more than one or two of these questions, you are at greater risk of developing pollution-related illness.
Here are some easy fixes and solutions, by question: 1. Switch completely to integrated pest management. Resource: www.birc.org
2. Buy your cleaning products at health food stores. Learn how easy it is to do nontoxic cleaning by learning from Care2’s expert nontoxic cleaning content.
3. Make sure to air the house out a lot and use air filters until all the new materials have “outgassed.”
4. Make sure to vacuum wall-to-wall carpet very frequently as it is a “sink” for pollutants. If affordable, plan to switch to tile or hardwood floors to avoid the chemical outgassing and pollutants. If you suspect a toxic carpet contact AFM Safecoat for sealants.
5. Switch to naturally-fragranced products found at health food and specialty stores.
6. Switch to 100 percent beeswax candles and for aromatherapy, 100% beeswax candles using pure essential oils.
7. Switch to electric, or at least make sure to get a vent and a new automatic pilot model.
8. Stop. This is very dangerous.
9. Stop. Switch to natural air fresheners bought at health food stores.
“I eat bread. That’s raw because it is cold.” This might sound crazy but this is what I hear when I tell people they need to include more raw foods in their diet. After they realize that bread is cooked and just about everything else they eat is cooked and processed, many times they go into a state of denial saying, “I’m just fine the way I am, I don’t need to change my eating habits.” Well it’s just a matter of time before it catches up with them and they experience disease to some degree or another.
I have done a lot of research on the cause and the cure of disease (my book “The Cause and Cure of Inflammatory Bowel Disease” covers much of this info how to heal all diseases). I can tell you that the answer is much more simple than most people could ever imagine.
There is a popular saying, “you are what you eat.” I have to agree with it because if you eat low-quality food you will have low-quality health. The opposite would be to eat high- quality foods for higher quality heath.
What are the highest quality foods to consume? The answer is simple. Any food that contains all of the qualities we need from food, Raw, Ripe, Fresh and Organic. This is all you have to remember when it comes to choosing your food.
Raw Raw Food means food that has not been heated over 108 degrees. When food is heating over 108 degrees many of the nutrients are destroyed but all of the enzymes are destroyed. Enzymes are so important because they help our body digest the food efficiently. Without these enzymes that are destroyed by heat, our body has to work much harder using tremendous amounts of energy, along with many other possible health damage. I suggest as a back up if we do consume food that is heated over 108 degrees we take digestive enzymes supplementation, but there is nothing better than the real thing. I feel 75 to 80 percent of a person’s diet should consist of raw foods.
Ripe Most foods found on the market today are unripe. Food that is picked before it matures is lacking in the important nutrients the body needs to thrive. This is why I feel even many vegetarians are not healthy. When food is eaten at the stage it was meant to be eaten (tree ripened) we will get the fullest about of nutrients possible. To my knowledge the only food that can ripen off the tree the same way it would as if on the tree is a banana. Now many other fruits seem to ripen off the tree but they do not do so as well as they would if they were tree ripen. In that case they would ripen with much more nutrients and taste. Another issue is when we eat food that is not ripe, our body has to work much harder to digest the food. Working much harder to get much less is not ideal.
Fresh When food is eaten too soon it is unripe, but if we wait too long it is un-fresh. The longer we wait to eat the food (as long as it is ripe) the more nutrients are lost from the food. We even lose enzymes in the food when it is not ripe. It is estimated that 50 percent of the nutrients are lost from the food after only four or five days. Eating the food as close to the time as it is picked (as long as it is picked ripe) will give us the highest quality food.
Organic Many people believe that if they wash their food there is no problem eating un-organic food. They don’t understand the main issue with un-organic food is that they chemicals get into the soil making the soil de-mineralized. Food that is grown from un-organic soil will have poison toxins in it that can never be washed away. Also the food will be lacking in minerals that was lacking from the soil that it was grown in. Eating food that is not organic not only makes the food poor quality, but also the deadly chemicals in the toxins used to kill the bugs are hazardous to your health on all levels.
I am not suggesting that all your food must contain these four qualities, but at least 3 of the 4. If it contains none or just one of the four, it is no good for you. Today most food consumed by people will not have any of these four qualities in them and this is one reason why The United States has more money than any other country in the world for medical study, procedures and products and research and still claims the title of being the leading country in the world when it comes to sickness an disease. There are many other factors to consider, but the poor diet of most Americans is an obvious one. So what do we do?
Remember raw, ripe, fresh and organic. Remember at least three of the four. If it has less, say no more!
At the Quintessence restaurant in New York, health-conscious diners munch on burgers, burritos, mini-pizzas and three-layer "mud slide" pie. Far from being greasy-spoon cuisine, these versions of American staples are free of animal products — and not one ingredient is cooked.
The restaurant, with three Manhattan locations that have sprouted up in the past few years, is one sign of the movement known as raw foodism. Typically, going raw means eating nothing but uncooked, organic, vegan fare — raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains and sprouts. The "cheese" on a raw pizza is likely to be a concoction based on ground nuts.
The raw philosophy boils down to this: Heating food beyond 118 degrees robs it of most vitamins, minerals and enzymes. In contrast, say advocates, eating foods in their natural form makes all the nutrients available to the body.
Cooking up a storm For proponents, swapping the stove for a juicer and "sprouter" means trading in heartburn, constipation and a host of other ills for a long life of good health and youthful looks.
Long-time raw-fooder Nancy Valdes, of New York, says for her, the diet banished constipation and gas. Valdes, who has been eating raw since she was 17, says people never believe her when she tells them she's 41 — a youthful appearance she attributes to the quality of her diet. She also says that since going raw, she has been rid of her "childhood diseases," such as rashes and bronchitis.
Dr. Doug Graham, an author and health consultant whose clients include world-class athletes, advocates a low-fat, raw, vegan diet, with fresh fruits and vegetables as the prime food source.
With cooking, says Graham, "vitamins and minerals lose their viability," and proteins form enzyme-resistant bonds that hinder the body's digestive enzymes from breaking them down.
Dr. Richard DeAndrea is co-founder of 21 Day Detox, a California-based program that uses raw food as part of a three-week workshop he says helps people clear their bodies of the toxins their usual lifestyle unloads.
Most workshop attendees eventually let some hot foods back into their lives. But that's not viewed as a lapse, as DeAndrea says that people who go 50-percent raw are likely to see "major health benefits."
However, other nutrition specialists express doubts about some tenets of raw foodism. Although cooking does diminish the nutrients in many — but not all — types of produce, there's disagreement on the consequences.
The fact that cooking changes a food's composition does not mean it has been stripped of its health benefits, says Claudia Gonzalez, a Miami-based registered dietitian who conducted a review of the raw-food diet for the American Dietetic Association.
Although she points out that raw foodists clearly get the fiber and other nutrients the typical American lacks, Gonzalez worries that they risk nutritional deficiencies because the diet may be too low in calories and nutrients like vitamins D and B12, which are found in animal products.
And while it may be obvious that meat, milk and eggs are potentially dangerous raw, certain non-animal products may be best eaten cooked as well.
"I would not eat raw legumes," says Dr. Jeanne Freeland-Graves of The University of Texas at Austin, noting that some beans — such as kidney and fava beans — carry potentially toxic compounds when raw.
And she and others throw cold water on the common claim that leaving food raw allows its enzymes to take over the work of the body's own digestive enzymes.
"That's just not scientific," says Freeland-Graves.
Enzymes are complex proteins, and when we ingest food, she explains, whole proteins are quickly broken down into their component amino acids — so the body doesn't absorb intact enzymes. If it did, she notes, the immune system would launch an attack.
The enzyme claim by many raw foodists is "completely false," says Graham, noting that "we fight that (notion) at every turn."
Digesting the pros and cons Enzyme issues aside, Dr. Lee M. Kaplan, director of the MGH Weight Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, points to the lack of scientific evidence that raw food fights disease, as many proponents claim.
The fact that a person's heartburn dissipates after he goes raw does not mean that cooking was the problem all along, says Kaplan, a spokesman for the American Gastroenterological Association. For example, he explains, the heartburn relief could have come from the elimination of chocolate, or any other food known to promote acid reflux.
Kaplan says he is not against going raw, but his advice is to concentrate on replacing highly processed foods with fruits, vegetables and whole grains, heated or not.
For his part, Graham, a raw fooder for 26 years, believes that a totally raw diet achieves "optimal" health, but he says that simply eating more fruits and vegetables is "a step in the right direction."
DeAndrea concedes that all-raw may not work for all people, since "everyone's constitution is different." He says the bottom line is that most Americans should eat fewer animal products and more plant-based fare.
"A person should try to eat more whole foods," DeAndrea says, adding, "If going raw is what does that for them, then it's probably a good thing."
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